Kitarō Kōsaka (高坂 希太郎 , Kōsaka Kitarō, born February 28, 1962, in Kanagawa Prefecture) is a Japanese animator, animation director and film director. He's nicknamed Monchi (モンチ) by Hayao Miyazaki, the reason being that he resembles the monkey Monchhichi (a popular toy figure). He's an avid cyclist and at one point, held cycling events with fellow Studio Ghibli staff.
In 2003, he made his debut as a film director with the cycling anime film, Nasu: Summer in Andalusia and even directed its sequel, Nasu: A Migratory Bird with Suitcase in 2007. In 2014, he was nominated for the 41st Annie Award for character animation for The Wind Rises, due to his role as animation director. He also won the animator award at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival in 2014. In 2018, he directed the television series Okko's Inn, produced by DLE and Madhouse.
He's a big fan of How Do You Like Wednesday (水曜どうでしょう , a variety show produced by Hokkaido Television Broadcasting), and one of the show's performers, Yo Oizumi, was chosen as the lead for Nasu.
Born February 28, 1962, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kōsaka graduated from Saitama Institute of Technology Fukaya High School. His interest in animation began after watching Future Boy Conan in high school.
He began his career in 1979 with the studio Oh! Production, a subcontractor of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata's works at the time. He received tutelage from key animator Shunji Saida, famous for working on Inspector Gadget (1983) and several works by Takahata including Chie the Brat, Anne of Green Gables and Grave of the Fireflies. Kōsaka left the studio in 1986 to become a freelance, and soon went on to work on numerous projects as a key and supervising animation director for the noted animation Studio Ghibli, and with the famed director Hayao Miyazaki, of whose work he is himself an acknowledged fan.
In 2003, he directed the cycling anime film, Nasu: Summer in Andalusia, set on the Vuelta a España road bicycle race, adapted from Iō Kuroda's manga Nasu, which Hayao Miyazaki, a fan of cycling, himself recommended to Kōsaka. The film soon went on to become the first Japanese anime film ever to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival. He also directed its sequel, Nasu: A Migratory Bird with Suitcase in 2007.
He has worked on numerous other projects for the studio Madhouse, including adaptations of manga artist Naoki Urasawa's works with the studio, including Yawara, Master Keaton and Monster, and adaptations of two of Clamp's works, including Clover and Double X, both of them being short films.
In 2018, he directed Okko's Inn (若おかみは小学生！, Waka Okami wa Shōgakusei!, transl. The Young Innkeeper Is a Grade Schooler!), produced by DLE and Madhouse. The series is based on a series of children's novels by Hiroko Reijō and illustrated by Asami.
- Anne of Green Gables (Animator)
- Grave of the Fireflies (Animator)
- Gauche the Cellist (Animator)
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Animator)
- Dagger of Kamui
- Sherlock Hound (Animator)
- Chie the Brat (Animator)
- Angel's Egg (Animator)
- Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise
- Whisper of the Heart (Animation Director)
- Princess Mononoke (Animation Director, Joint)
- Master Keaton
- Spirited Away (Animation Director, Joint)
- Nasu: Summer in Andalusia (Director)
- Howl's Moving Castle (Animation Director, Joint)
- Ponyo (Animation Director, Joint)
- Nasu: A Migratory Bird with Suitcase (Director)
- From Up on Poppy Hill
- The Wind Rises (Animation Director)
- Okko's Inn (Director)
- Kitaro Kosaka Midnight Eye Interview